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Review: The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland

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The Rise and Fall of the DODO by Neal Stephenson // VBC ReviewThe Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.
Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland
Published: July 13, 2017 (William Morrow)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: purchased

Reviewed by: Beth

Rating (out of 5): 2 stars 

D.O.D.O. The Department of Diachronic Operations. A sort of black ops department that figures out how and why magic disappeared from our world, and then works out how to make magic work again. Dr. Melisande Stokes ends up there sort of accidentally, and for many months, isn’t even aware of what DODO stands for. She’s brought in for translation purposes, and over time, ends up helping to run the department with Triston Lyons—the military man who recruited her. But when messing with magic and trying to make it do your bidding, all sorts of things can go wrong–from the sudden non-existence of prior people and things, to raiding parties in Wal-Mart.

The idea of bringing witchcraft back to the current day, and in a sort of militarized capacity, sounded intriguing. As did the sort of sarcastic tone that the novel seemed to have. I quite literally walked by it on the bookstore table for three days in a row, picked it up and read the cover every day, and then put it back down again. Always sort of regretting it as I walked away. Finally, after three days of this, I bit the bullet and bought the book. Unfortunately, I found that some things should be left behind.

The characters in the book—and there are a LOT of them—fell flat for me. Not only did there not appear to be much of a real connection between the characters within the story, but I also never really felt like I had an attachment to any of them either. Maybe it was that there were just too many characters (there were) or that the story just was too much to do more with (it was), but…nevertheless, I was not sad to say goodbye to them.

The setting was modern day, for most of the book. There was a lot of time travel going on, to various times and locations around the world. The descriptions of those places were full and interesting, however there was so little time spent in each of them that it really didn’t matter a whole lot.

The structure of much of the book, with the notes and emails, etc., made the book a little bit more interesting than it otherwise would have been. Though honestly, for a much better book where that is done, see the books in The Illuminae Files series. There really is no comparison.

It pains me (literally) to give a 700-page book a 2-star review. By the time I finished, I was sick and tired of all the people in it, and my thumb felt like it was just going to fall off. If you have an e-book, this would be an excellent time to use it. Unfortunately, even with all of those pages to cover the story, it was just *too much*. Too many people, too many plot lines, too many acronyms…too much everything except simply good story. And sadly, witchcraft isn’t going to help with that.

Sexual content: none

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